ARE WE LIVING IN THE LAST DAYS ?
As Dr. Chuck Missler would say - ''Pattern is prologue.''
What are some of the signs leading up to Jesus’ return? Many are already occurring.
Terrible Times Are Coming
The Apostle Paul, in writing about the last days to Timothy, wrote “that in the last days there will come times of difficulty” (2nd Tim 3:1). Does anyone doubt that today we are living in difficult times? Violence is escalating, terrorism is increasing, and the world’s economy is on shaky ground. Earlier, Paul had said “the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (1st Tim 4:1), and clearly this has happened and is happening at an ever-increasing rate. To see theology be replaced with a “me-ology” and become me-centered instead of Christ-centered is heartbreaking, because it isn’t a seeking of the kingdom first and foremost (Matt 6:33), but seeking “your best life now” above all things. If this is our best life now, then our destiny is not heaven because that will be the best of life, so if this is your best life now, then hell must be the next destination.
What other things do you see that make you think we’re living in the last days?
What are the difficulties you face today?
Have you experienced churches, teachers, and pastors departing from the faith?
What does that look like?
It’s All About Me
The Apostle Paul warned that “people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy” (2nd Tim 3:2), and there is no doubting the fact that people are motivated by money, which is all about the self. Businesses are shrinking their products and services but raising their prices because they get more profits. If people are more “lovers of self” today, that means they will be “lovers of money”too because money is how they love themselves by satisfying the flesh. The more money they can make, the more love they can show to themselves (which isn’t really love but greed, or idolatry). The human heart is too often “proud, arrogant, abusive…ungrateful, and unholy.” Can you see the mainstream media touting more sex today than ever before?
Have you seen churches shift from preaching and teaching to “getting the most out of life?”
Where has the focused shifted?
Is true discipleship being taught today or is teaching more topological?
Why is expository or verse by verse preaching most effective?
A Shift in Teaching/Preaching
Instead of our teaching being Christocentric, it has become egocentric. Much of our preaching and teaching has shifted from being Bible-centered to happiness-focused. Rather than teaching the necessity for sharing in the sufferings of Christ, some teach how to avoid suffering and to be happy. Their goal is to avoid suffering at all costs, and we hear about God wanting us to be prosperous, happy, and healthy, but I can’t find that in the Bible. This type of teaching could fit into the coming kingdom but not our world today.
Why do we focus more on self today than on Christ?
What does it mean to share in the sufferings of Christ (Rom 8:17; 1st Pet 4:13)?
What kind of prosperity does God want for us (3rd John 1:2)?
21st Century Society
Paul, in continuing to write about the last days, said that mankind will be “heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2nd Tim 3:3-4). If we look at today’s advertising, movies, TV, and the Internet, we can see the heartless violence, the slanderous words, a world with little self-control, haters of good, even calling good for evil (Isaiah 5:20), as well as being treacherous, full of conceit, and loving their own pleasure rather than loving God. Just looking back 40 years ago and you can easily see the vast differences between movies then and movies now, commercials then and commercials now. Advertisers focus on self-gratification because they know the human heart, at least to an extent.
What are some of the heartless things you’ve seen in your life?
Is self-control an issue in your own life? If so, what areas do you struggle with?
Why are commercials and movies becoming more violent and sexually explicit?
Have video games followed a similar pattern?
Does this make you yearn for Jesus’ return?
Angels of Light
Today we have unlimited preachers and teachers who appear just about as godly as can be on the outside, but inwardly, they are ravening wolves. Paul warned that some will have“the appearance of godliness, but denying its power,” so Paul says, “Avoid such people” (2nd Tim 3:5). You cannot tell a biblically sound preacher from a false one by the way the dress or look or talk. That’s because “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2nd Cor 11:4), “So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds” (2nd Cor 11:4). The main way you can tell between the false and true preacher of God is the content in which he preaches. Biblical, expository, verse by verse preaching should be the rule rather than focusing on making Christians feel better about themselves and not worry about sin.
What elements are missing in many pulpits today?
Why are we so focused on looks and not on content?
Is it hard to tell the false preacher from the sound one?
Departing from the Faith
Finally, the Apostle Paul warned us that “evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2nd Tim 3:13), while the godly are persecuted for trusting in Christ (2nd Tim 3:12). Even worse, “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2nd Tim 4:3-4). Paul wrote this just prior to or awaiting his execution, so apparently the Spirit of God warned him of perilous times to come, and I believe they have come. Today, false teachers are “devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (1st Tim 4:1), and may not even realize it because they too are deceived.
Why don’t false teachers see their error?
What is “sound teaching?”
Do you know any “imposters” who are claiming they are ministers of light?
It is easier to discern error from truth, especially biblical truth, if you are in the Word of God every day. Staying out of the Word can lead to doctrinal errors, but doctrinal errors are exposed when you stay in the Word. If we have the benchmark for truth, and we do in the Bible, then we’ll have a way to spot error when we hear it or read it. Without a good understanding of the Word of God, the word of man can deceive us more easily. Yes, we are in the last days, but every day is the “last days” for those who reject Christ because they are one heartbeat away from eternity and every day we get that much closer to Christ’s return with every passing second. Today would be a good day to believe (2nd Cor 6:2), because tomorrow may never come for some of us.
Last Days Warnings...
As the world reels under the impact of the latest Middle East crisis, many are discovering that the events are fitting into a larger pattern of precisely predicted events.
The pattern is to be found woven through the Hebrew prophets from Moses to Jesus Christ and John the Apostle. The prophecies were made during a period of from 3500 to 1900 years ago.
Throughout these predictions, it’s clear that the events are to lead to a final seven-year period of world catastrophe. This period will climax with a global war of such magnitude that only the personal, visible return of Jesus Christ to this planet will prevent man from self-annihilation.
THINGS WE ARE SEEING
Listed below are 20 pieces of this pattern which are unmistakably coming together simultaneously for the first time in history.
The return of the dispersed Jews to Israel to become a nation again in 1948.
The Jews’ recapture of the Old City of Jerusalem in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
The rise of Russia as a powerful nation and enemy of Israel.
The Arab confederation against the new State of Israel.
The rise of a military power in the Orient that can field an army of 200 million soldiers. (Red China alone boasts that she has this number of troops!)
The revival of the Old Roman Empire in the form of a ten-nation confederacy. (I believe the European Common Market is ultimately going to be this power.)
The revival of the dark occultic practices of ancient Babylon.
The unprecedented turn to drugs.
The increase of international revolution.
The increase of wars.
The increase of earthquakes.
The increase of famines through the population explosion.
The coming of plagues.
The increase of famines through the population explosion.
The coming of plagues.
The increase of pollution.
The departure of many Christian churches from the historic truth of Christianity.
The move toward a one-world religion.
The move toward a one-world government.
The decline of the United States as a major world power.
The increase in lawlessness.
The decline of the family unit.
THINGS TO WATCH
The Arabs will continue to bring greater pressure upon the Western nations to support their demands against Israel. They will do so through the continued restriction of oil without which the industrial nations cannot survive. They may begin to use their vast financial power to seriously threaten the economy of the United States as well. It is doubtful that Fort Knox could back up the dollars they hold, if they demanded gold for them.
The United States will have some severe economic shocks from the European Common Market and the Arab oil squeeze. It will continue its decline as a major power both by this and internal moral decadence.
The European Common Market will begin to emerge as the greatest economic power in history.
Israel will continue to increasingly become the Western world’s dilemma. The Middle East will continue to be the most dangerous threat to world peace in history. The prophets clearly say that the spark that sets off Armageddon will be struck by the invasion of Israel by the Egyptian-led Arabs and the Russians.
Jesus predicted these days we’re living in when He said concerning the prophetic signs, “When you see all these things, know He is at the door ready to return.” Then He said, “This generation will not pass away until all is fulfilled.”
My opinion is that, because we are seeing all these signs fitting into the predicted pattern, we are the generation, which will see the culmination of history, as we know it, and the return of Christ. Who knows, perhaps this will be the year of Christ’s sudden and mysterious coming to snatch out all those who believe in Him.